All employers need to provide a workplace which is suitable for
employees to perform their duties.
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (the "Act") looks to
ensure all employees work in conditions that are not only safe for
them to work in, but which promote the employment relationship and
the effective functioning of employees.
As an employer, there are some minimum requirements you
must be aware of:
• You must provide employees with facilities
- Drinking water
- Hand washing areas
- First aid
- Ventilation of fresh or purified air
- A means for controlling temperature
- Areas for employees to take rest breaks and
• You must take all practicable steps to
ensure that staff facilities are maintained in a good order and
• You must provide employees with a clean
Communication is important:
As part of an employer's obligation to maintain a good faith
relationship with employees, it is important that employers be
available and actively seek feedback from employees to identify
issues with working conditions and solutions for minimizing or
eliminating these issues.
Health and safety is not just a management responsibility. It sits
squarely on the shoulders of directors as well, something that was
affirmed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry established in relation
to the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy.
Good Governance Practices Guidelines for Managing Health and
Safety Risks have just been released as part of a joint initiative
of the Institute of Directors and the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment. These guidelines provide directors with
comprehensive advice on their roles and responsibilities, and a
handy checklist to ensure all the bases are covered.
For more information, see our website or download a copy of the
Good Governance Practice Guidelines from:
Keep on top of your health and safety obligations. Your business
will be better for it.
Kylie van Heerden and Rebecca Catley